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    Wednesday, September 2, 2015

    Ain't Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil RightsMovement

    "Examines the history of the civil rights movement and the criminal justice system beyond the court rooms and into the arrests, jail cells, and prisons that were the locus of grassroots protests and organizing."--Robert Cassanello, coeditor of Migration and the Transformation of the Southern Workplace since 1945 Imprisonment became a badge of honor for many protestors during the civil rights movement. With the popularization of expressions such as "jail-no-bail" and "jail-in," civil rights activists sought to transform arrest and imprisonment from something to be feared to a platform for the cause. Beyond Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letters from the Birmingham Jail," there has been little discussion on the incarceration experiences of civil rights activists. In her debut book, Zoe Colley does what no historian has done before by following civil rights activists inside the southern jails and prisons to explore their treatment and the different responses that civil rights organizations had to mass arrest and imprisonment. Colley focuses on the shift in philosophical and strategic responses of civil rights protestors from seeing jail as something to be avoided to seeing it as a way to further the cause. Imprisonment became a way to expose the evils of segregation, and highlighted to the rest of American society the injustice of southern racism. By drawing together the narratives of many individuals and organizations, Colley paints a clearer picture of how the incarceration of civil rights activists helped shape the course of the movement. She places imprisonment at the forefront of civil rights history and shows how these new attitudes toward arrest continue to impact contemporary society and shape strategies for civil disobedience. Zoe A. Colley is lecturer in American history at the University of Dundee. Download Link
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